Gauteng Liquor Forum condemns police brutality
"As evidenced by the expose on eTV's Third Degree, the 'Amaberete' have time and again subjected law-abiding business owners and their customers to threats, intimidation and violence"
Johannesburg - The recent expose on police brutality in the township liquor trade by eTV's Third Degree did not unfortunately come as a surprise to most taverners, says the Gauteng Liquor Forum (GLF).
The GLF, which represents over 8000 shebeen and tavern owners in Gauteng, says many taverners have been regularly subjected to illegal and even criminal treatment by the police. The forum has on many occasions expressed its concern over the behaviour of the so-called 'Amaberete' -members of the SAPS's tactical response team that have been terrorising taverns and their patrons for years.
"The Gauteng Liquor Forum strongly and unequivocally condemns the actions of those members of the SAPS's tactical response team who have been harassing and assaulting our members and their patrons," says GLF spokesperson Mr Linda Madida.
"As evidenced by the expose on eTV's Third Degree, the 'Amaberete' have time and again subjected law-abiding business owners and their customers to threats, intimidation and violence. Our members regularly express their frustration and anger at the police brutality they are subjected to on an on-going basis."
One of these members, who has owned a tavern in Vosloorus since 1999, says that he and his clients have been victims of the Amaberete countless times.
The story is familiar: the police usually arrive at about 10pm, searching and beating his customers and pouring alcohol everywhere. In fact, he says that he has lost clients because of the brutality involved in these raids.
Another GLF member, who operates a shebeen out of Sasolberg, says: "They [the Amaberete] usually come to those outlets that don't have CCTV cameras.
They come and beat my customers without saying anything."
Mr Madida continues: "We ask that the new Police Commissioner, Ms Riah Phiyega, holds those members of the tactical response team that are responsible for these crimes accountable as she would the criminals they are meant to be catching."